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The Best Residential Proxy Providers of 2021

If you’re looking to buy residential proxies, you’ve come to the right place. This page will introduce you to a variety of great providers. Don’t worry, we’ve extensively tested each and outlined their main characteristics to make your choice easier.

Just to be on the same page, residential proxies are IP addresses assigned to homeowners by internet companies. In other words, they belong to someone’s computer, phone, or even smart TV on a high speed home network. These proxies work best with protected websites or when you need broad location coverage. We explain all this below in greater detail. And now, here are the best residential proxies for sale in 2021.

The Best Residential Proxies – Quick Summary:

  1. Smartproxy – the best balance between features and price.
  2. Oxylabs – the best premium residential & ISP proxy provider.
  3. Bright Data – the provider with the most features.
  4. GeoSurf – quality proxies with thousands of cities.
  5. NetNut – the largest ISP proxy network.
  6. PacketStream – cheap IPs with questionable reliability.
  7. SOAX – a provider with very flexible rotation & location targeting options.
  8. Infatica – affordable premium residential proxies.
  9. Storm Proxies – a beginner-friendly option with unlimited bandwidth.

What Are Residential Proxies?

Put simply, they’re proxy servers that use IP addresses borrowed from residential users. The term ‘residential user’ is broad: it includes not only desktop and laptop computers, but also IoT devices like smart TVs. The same goes for mobile phones on a Wi-Fi connection.

The important thing is that a residential IP has to be issued by an internet service provider (ISP) and not a data center. This is what separates them from datacenter proxies.

How a Residential Proxy Server Works

When you browse the internet without a proxy or VPN, you connect to a website directly. With a residential proxy server, it goes like this:

residential proxies scheme

What happens here is that you connect to a proxy server. It then chooses a residential IP from the pool of available addresses, and routes your request through it. The website sees the connection as coming from that user and their location. Your own IP, or the fact that you’re using a proxy server, is never revealed in the process.

Residential proxy providers rarely sell IP lists. Instead, they give backconnect gateway address. It automatically assigns you an address from the IP pool. This is necessary because residential connections aren’t stable – the IP source can simply disconnect their device from the internet, and your connection will be lost.

So, residential proxies inevitably rotate. A server can force rotation each connection request or let you keep the same IP address for a certain amount of time. Usually, that’s 10, 30 minutes, or until the IP disconnects. Static residential IPs are an exception to this rule; we briefly cover them below.

Main Types of Residential IP Addresses

  • Rotating residential proxies. Also called peer-to-peer proxies, these are IP addresses borrowed from customers of internet service providers. They come in big IP pools that cover many locations and subnets. This makes software using peer-to-peer residential IPs very hard to detect – effectively, they will appear as real people.
  • Static residential proxies (ISP proxies). These IPs come directly from internet service providers but do not involve end users. In essence, they’re hosted in virtual servers like datacenter IPs but have a consumer ISP’s identifying number (ASN) assigned to them. This makes ISP proxies faster, more stable, and always available. However, they’re still easier to detect than regular residential addresses.

How Residential IPs Are Made

To our knowledge, there are four main ways to acquire residential IPs:

  1. Insert an SDK into software people use. Providers like Bright Data and Infatica approach app or extension developers and offer them to add a piece of code called SKD. Users who install these apps then become proxies. In return, they don’t have to pay or watch ads. Reputable providers always ask for permission and limit use of resources.
  2. Buy traffic from people directly. Proxy provider PacketStream offers people to install an app and sell their unused bandwidth. We believe there could be more providers using this method with white-label solutions.
  3. Inject malware into people’s devices. This method is part of the reason why proxies have a bad reputation. It creates what we popularly call botnets. Most reputable providers would never use malware; but there are still large services that appear to be relying on it to this day.
  4. Lease IP spaces from ISPs. A proxy network can pay an internet service provider to host IPs on its network. This is how static residential proxies are made. NetNut is one example of such a business model.

When to Use Residential Proxies

You can use them for most of the general proxy use cases. However, because such IPs are harder to get and maintain than datacenter proxies, they cost significantly more. So, it makes sense to use them when:

  • your target has strong protection mechanisms. Websites use IP reputation as the first line of defence; and residential addresses are much more reputable than residential IPs. Some examples would be sneaker stores, Google, travel fare aggregation sites, and social media networks like Instagram.
  • you need broad location coverage. Providers not only pool residential IPs from many locations but also allow targeting them very precisely. This makes them a good choice for SEO crawling, ad verification, software localization, and similar tasks.
  • you want to browse truly anonymously. VPNs hide you but not the fact you’re using a VPN. Residential proxies make it look like you’re browsing as a real person.

How Much Do Residential Proxies Cost?

First of all, you should know that buying access to a residential proxy network is like buying a pre-paid SIM card: you pay for traffic. Most providers offer monthly plans, some, like Bright Data and PacketStream, allow paying as you go. A few companies offer unlimited bandwidth, though that usually means lower quality.

Overall, you’ll be looking at paying anywhere from $1 to $20 per gigabyte. A lot depends on how much you buy and if you commit to a long-term contract. The average for 100 GBs is around $9/GB.

A Word About Free Trials

If you’re not a business, you likely won’t get a free trial. Instead, most providers will offer you a limited money-back guarantee. This is the market standard. Its purpose is to protect from abuse.

The Best Residential Proxy Providers

1. Smartproxy

The best balance between features and price. 

smartproxy home page

Smartproxy offers a great value proposition for anyone that needs backconnect residential proxies: be it for personal or business use. It covers all the main features you’d expect, has performant IPs, and doesn’t cost much. The user experience is also impeccable. There are many guides, proxy control tools, and award-winning customer support. You can start using Smartproxy with minimal interaction, as it emphasizes self-service. 

Smartproxy’s only real drawbacks are no SOCKS5 support and limited targeting options (only 8 cities, no carrier or ASN targeting). 

Features:

  • 40 million peer-to-peer residential IPs
  • HTTP & HTTPS protocols
  • 195 locations (+8 cities)
  • Rotation every request, 10, 30 mins
  • Unlimited concurrent connections
  • Whitelisted IP & user:pass authentication
  • Sub-users
  • API & browser extension
  • Extensive documentation
  • Award-winning support

Pricing:

Starts from $75/5 GB ($15/GB). 3-day refund available.

Smartproxy Coupon

Use the code Proxyway to get a 20% discount.

Grab the Offer

Read the Smartproxy review for more information and performance tests.


 

2. Oxylabs

The best premium residential proxy provider.

Oxylabs sells premium residential proxies for businesses. The provider can offer both static and rotating IPs, though it focuses on the latter. Its proxies cover all countries and most cities in the world. You can even target them by ASN. The proxies offer class-leading performance, and the new next-gen residential proxies should make the IPs even more robust. You’ll be getting a dedicated account manager and tips to improve your scraping success.

Oxylabs may not be the best option for beginners or individual use. The pricing is somewhat expensive at first and starts from $300. That said, it scales well as you buy up.

Features:

  • 100M peer-to-peer & static residential IPs
  • HTTP & HTTPS protocols
  • Every country, thousands of cities, ASN targeting
  • Unlimited concurrent requests
  • Rotation every request, sticky sessions up to 30 mins
  • Whitelisted IP & user:pass authentication
  • Sub-users
  • Public API
  • Good documentation
  • Dedicated account manager

Pricing:

Starts from $300/20 GB ($15/GB). 7-day free trial for businesses, 3-day refund for individuals.

Oxylabs Coupon

Use the code Proxyway15 to get a 15% discount.

Grab the Offer

Read the Oxylabs review for more information and performance tests.


 

3. Bright Data (formerly Luminati)

The most feature-rich residential proxy provider. 

luminati residential page

Bright Data is the largest proxy provider in the market, and not without reason. It offers a huge pool of rotating and static residential IPs. The proxies have many features, and even allow targeting by ASN. We’ve found their performance to be great when the provider didn’t impose artificial limits. Luminati includes powerful proxy control tools, such as an API, browser extension, and an open source proxy manager. You can subscribe to a pricing plan or pay for as you go. 

Like Oxylabs, Bright Data is mostly concerned with business customers. We wouldn’t recommend it for beginners – the service can be complex to use, and the pricing structure is somewhat confusing. There’s also a strict KYC which rules out some gray hat use cases. 

Features:

  • 72M peer-to-peer & static residential IPs
  • HTTP, HTTPS & SOCKS protocols
  • Every country, thousands of cities, ASN and carrier targeting
  • Rotation every request, sticky sessions available
  • Unlimited concurrent requests
  • Whitelisted IP & user:pass authentication
  • Sub-users
  • API, browser extension & proxy manager
  • Extensive documentation
  • 24/7 customer support

Pricing:

Starts from $500/40GB ($12.5/GB). 7-day free trial for businesses, 3-day refund for individuals.

Visit Bright Data

Read the Bright Data review for more information and performance tests.


 

4. GeoSurf

Quality residential proxies for a premium price. 

geosurf residential page

GeoSurf is one more premium residential proxy provider. Once again, it offers both rotating and static IPs. What distinguishes GeoSurf is that it very much focuses on quality over quantity. The 2.5M IPs are handpicked from tier 1 countries and major consumer ISPs. Another strength of GeoSurf is extensive location coverage (over 1,000 cities) and flexible rotation settings. Naturally, there’s an API and a browser extension to simplify tasks that require geo-targeting.

On the downside, GeoSurf is among the most expensive providers. The limited proxy pool may mean that you’ll encounter abused IPs more often. And the company recently lost a lawsuit to Luminati, so its future is uncertain.

Features:

  • 2.5M peer-to-peer & static residential IPs
  • HTTP & HTTPS protocols
  • Every country, thousands of cities
  • Rotation every request, sticky sessions for 1/10/30 mins
  • Unlimited concurrent requests
  • Whitelisted IP & user:pass authentication
  • Sub-users
  • API, browser extension
  • Good documentation
  • 24/7 customer support

Pricing:

Starts from $450/38 GB ($11.85/GB). Demo session available.

Visit GeoSurf

Read the GeoSurf review for more information and performance tests.


 

5. NetNut

The largest static residential proxy provider. 

netnut home page

NetNut focuses on selling static residential proxies only. It’s the largest provider of such IPs. The proxies are always available and don’t need to rotate, so they work well for things like social media management. NetNut has separate pools for different use cases, and you can buy IPs for your exclusive use. In our performance tests, the proxies performed well and lagged only slightly behind the market leaders. You can rent the IPs by traffic, or successful requests if your needs are big enough.

NetNut isn’t the easiest provider to use, and it’s best if you need proxies at scale. The cheaper plans lock features, such as API access or Skype support. And if you want very granular geo-targeting, NetNut’s variety of locations might let you down.

Features:

  • 5M static residential IPs
  • HTTP & HTTPS protocols
  • 50 countries, city and state targeting in the US
  • Rotation every request or keep the same IP
  • Unlimited concurrent requests
  • Whitelisted IP & user:pass authentication
  • Sub-users (with a reseller account only)
  • API, browser extension
  • Mediocre documentation
  • 24/7 customer support

Pricing: 

Starts from $300/20 GB ($15/GB). 7-day free trial available.

Visit NetNut

Read the NetNut review for more information and performance tests.


 

6. PacketStream

Very cheap residential proxies with questionable reliability.  

packetstream home page

PacketStream has extremely affordable residential proxies thanks to its unique business model. It buys bandwidth directly from people and then resells it to customers. This lets PacketStream offer IPs for as little as $1/GB, and a pay-as-you-go model. When we tested the network, the performance was great. But it seems that PacketStream has inflated its proxy pool numbers, and we doubt they reach the advertised 7 million IPs. As a result, you can quickly start getting duplicate proxies, especially if you select a more exotic location.

Still, its price and ease of use make PacketStream a decent option for beginners. Just note that the minimum deposit is $50, despite the low price per GB. Businesses that need a reliable service should look elsewhere.

Features:

  • 7M (?) rotating residential IPs
  • HTTP & HTTPS protocols
  • Global locations with country targeting
  • Rotation every request, sticky sessions until available
  • Unlimited concurrent requests
  • User:pass authentication
  • Email support

Pricing:

Starts from $50/50GB ($1/GB). Free trial available.

Visit PacketStream

Read the PacketStream review for more information and performance tests.


7. SOAX

A provider with very flexible rotation and location targeting options.

soax residential proxies page

SOAX controls a network of around 5 million peer-to-peer residential proxies. It stands somewhere in the middle between cheap and premium providers, similarly to Smartproxy. SOAX’s two distinguish features are rotation and location targeting. Both are very flexible: you can choose to keep an IP anywhere from 90 seconds (or less, if you pay extra) to until it’s available, in multiple increments. Targeting-wise, SOAX lets you specify not only country, but also region, city, and ASN. The proxies aren’t fast but they work well.

Otherwise, SOAX is still pretty raw. This doesn’t detract too much from the service but is noticeable. Some technical choices it’s made also raise questions: HTTP(S) traffic over SOCKS5, obligatory IP whitelisting, and limited ports for plans. All in all, choose this provider for the flexibility, if you need it.

Features:

  • 5M rotating residential IPs
  • HTTP(S) over SOCKS5
  • Global locations with country, city, ASN targeting
  • Rotation from 90s to until available (with custom options)
  • Concurrent requests limited by plan
  • Whitelisted IP authentication
  • Sub-users
  • API
  • Live chat support

Pricing:

From $75 for 5GB ($15/GB) and 600 ports. 3-day trial for $1.99 available.

Visit SOAX

Read the SOAX review for more information and performance tests.


 

8. Infatica

A raw but affordable business residential proxy provider. 

infatica residential page

Infatica is a relatively new provider that sells peer-to-peer residential proxies for businesses. It tries to compete with the likes of Oxylabs, GeoSurf, and Luminati by offering most of the same features at better prices. In reality, Infatica’s proxy network works pretty well and includes all the basic features. It also scales into hundreds of requests per second without issues.

Pricing aside, Infatica still has ways to go, especially in terms of user experience. The documentation is very barebones, the dashboard uncomfortable, and proxy controls somewhat clunky. But if your company wants to save some money on proxies, Infatica can prove a good alternative to the big guys.

Features:

  • 10M rotating residential IPs
  • SOCKS5 protocol with only HTTP(S) traffic
  • Around 100 countries
  • 1-hour proxy rotation 
  • Unlimited concurrent requests
  • Whitelisted IP authentication
  • Minimal user documentation
  • 24/7 customer support

Pricing:

Starts from $360/40GB ($9/GB). 7-day free trial available.

Visit Infatica

Read the Infatica review for more information and performance tests.


 

9. Storm Proxies

Affordable residential proxies without bandwidth limits. 

storm proxies residential page

Storm Proxies sells rotating residential proxies in the US and EU. Its main strengths are affordable pricing, instant setup, and unlimited bandwidth. On the other hand, the provider has very narrow location coverage, fewer features, and doesn’t scale well. The performance is mediocre at best, at least when we tried it.

Overall, Storm Proxies is a good beginner’s choice if you’re working with unprotected websites and don’t want to worry about bandwidth limits. You shouldn’t use it for demanding or location-sensitive tasks.

Features:

  • 70,000 rotating residential IPs
  • HTTP & HTTPS protocols
  • US and EU locations
  • Rotation every request, 5, or 15 minutes
  • Unlimited bandwidth
  • Whitelisted IP authentication
  • 24/7 customer support

Pricing:

Starts from $19/1 port. 24-hour free trial available.

Visit Storm Proxies

Read the Storm Proxies review for more information and performance tests.

9 comments

  1. Rashad on November 19, 2020 at 8:30 am

    How long does usually residential proxy last, before the IP changes?

    • Chris Becker on November 20, 2020 at 6:49 am

      It depends on the proxy provider and the end user. Usually, it’s up to 10 or 30 minutes.

  2. Offerman on December 1, 2020 at 8:33 am

    Would you recommend to buy a residential proxy for surveys? They’re more expensive than datacenter proxies, but some reviews say that they are better.

    • Chris Becker on December 3, 2020 at 1:00 pm

      Offerman, residential proxies should be a better choice. They hide the fact that you’re using a proxy much better than datacenter IPs. And I’d guess some survey sites are pretty touchy about this subject.

  3. Harold on December 23, 2020 at 1:50 pm

    Let’s say I buy a bunch of proxies from a less known provider. How to tell if proxy is residential based? What can be the main way to spot them from data center based proxies?

    • Chris Becker on December 29, 2020 at 12:36 pm

      You can use any IP checker – look for the “ISP” field. If you can’t recognize the company, Google it and see if it’s a commercial provider or one that sells cloud services. Or you can use an IP database like IP2Location. We write more about testing proxies here: https://proxyway.com/guides/how-to-test-proxies

  4. Rhys on January 16, 2021 at 12:39 am

    You should try review https://speedproxies.net/ as I tried them for the last few weeks and worked quite good, with the downside being that they don’t support socks5.

    • Chris Becker on January 16, 2021 at 10:24 am

      Hi Rhys, thanks for the suggestion. We’ll have a look at them.

  5. Donald on February 25, 2021 at 10:49 am

    That’s a very great and detailed overview! From my personal experience, I see Smartproxy as the best solution when choosing residential proxies, especially for SEO tasks since they have those specific Search Engine proxies (https://smartproxy.com/proxies/search-engine-proxies).
    Also, there is a great ratio between the price and what you get for it (lots of features), so probably it’s no surprise that this provider is ranked the highest on this list.

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Frequently Asked Questions About Residential Proxies

Can I Buy Static Residential Proxies?

Yes. More and more providers are starting to offer residential proxies that come directly from internet service providers and not end users. We feature a few of them in our list.

Are There Residential IPs with Unlimited Bandwidth?

Yes. Storm Proxies and Shifter are two providers we know of. Residential proxies with unlimited bandwidth usually suffer in performance, but they are useful if you have high traffic requirements.

Can I Get a Free Trial?

Some providers allow that, especially if you’re signing up as a company. However, most offer a money-back guarantee instead.